Doug Jones delivers message to House colleagues: end the government shutdown

Doug Jones opinion

Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones took to the Senate floor on Thursday where he delivered a message to his House colleagues: end the government shutdown

Specifically, Jones wants members of the House to support bipartisan legislation to end the partial federal government shutdown. Democratic House leadership has indicated it will vote on the remaining six bipartisan appropriations bills that were negotiated over several months by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy. These bills would provide funding for a number of agencies for the rest of the fiscal year, while providing for a continuing resolution to fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through February 8, 2019. 

“The House of Representatives will be voting on a measure that is the result of months of bipartisan negotiations in the Senate. While some will characterize it as a partisan proposal by the new Democratic House leadership, these bills have long been in the works in the Senate and would end the costly government shutdown while allowing negotiations to continue on the funding levels for border security. Each of the funding bills included in the current House proposal received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. Four passed the full Senate on a 92-6 vote. Two others passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on votes of 30-1 and 31-0, respectively. The last, a continuing resolution to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded through February 8th was part of a larger continuing resolution that passed the Senate unanimously last month. I urge my colleagues in the House on both sides of the aisle to support this bipartisan path forward and send it back to the Senate. This proposal is the common ground we need to get back to the business of governing,” said Jones.

Jones continued, “This is the third federal government shutdown I have witnessed in my first year as a U.S. Senator. Our duty in Congress is to serve the American people. By shutting down the government yet again – and retreating to our respective political corners – we are not doing our job and tens of thousands of our constituents are paying the price. More than 5,000 federal workers across Alabama were furloughed or worked unpaid through the holidays. Vital Coast Guard employees, who are not paid under the Defense Department’s budget, don’t know if their next paycheck will come. Garbage and waste are piling up at our treasured national parks. It’s time to come together to agree on a solution and do the job we were sent here to do.”  

On December 21, 2018, Jones was the only Senate Democrat to vote to proceed to debate on the continuing resolution bill passed by the House of Representatives last month. While that bill would not have had enough votes to pass the Senate, that procedural vote allowed the Senate to continue negotiations with the House and the White House. 

Watch Jones’ floor remarks urging the end of the shutdown: